At present, the privacy of personal health records (PHRs) is one of the prioritized objectives of the American healthcare system. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) describes a PHR as “an electronic record of an individual’s health information by which the individual controls access to the information” (n.d., para. 2). In other words, an individual actively participates in their own healthcare by managing the PHR. Moreover, PHRs are subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which helps to protect the patients’ privacy (The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d.). Ultimately, it is essential to examine the necessary provisions in PHRs that protect individuals’ private data.
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Namely, there are several notable regulations that should always be maintained in PHRs. First of all, no personal information can be disclosed or shared with third parties without the patient’s written consent (The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d.). Secondly, healthcare providers need to ensure that the patient understands the risks of private data disclosure and educate them if necessary. Thirdly, individuals should not be forced in any way to share the information in PHRs with healthcare professionals. Moreover, the patients should be able to inspect their protected health information (PHI) from PHRs or obtain a physical copy of a PHR at all times (The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d.). The mentioned provisions ensure that the individual’s private data is protected and cannot be disclosed to third parties without their consent and awareness. Ultimately, the primary purpose of PHRs is to grant patients more control over their healthcare decisions, and it is essential to maintain the privacy of their PHI to achieve this goal.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Personal health records and the HIPAA privacy rule. Web.